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All in one bedroom/home/practice amps often get a bad rap — yes, they have effects, but usually with not a lot of adjustability, and most are meant as an entry level player’s item. Yamaha’s THR10 II desktop amp redefines the small format, all in one unit, with plenty of tweakability and a pro-level quality of tone.
At first glance, it looks like a piece of portable home audio hardware, with a pair of 3” drivers sitting behind the grille. Clocking in at a cool 20 watts, it has enough power to fill up a room, and beyond. One big thing to consider is that Yamaha considers this to be a desktop amp. So, having it at your feet like a typical combo practice amp, it just sounds off — boxy and small. Placing it on a desk or table, anywhere just above waist height, the sound is way more optimal!▼ Article continues below ▼
There are 8 types of amps at your fingertips, with 3 variants on each; Modern, Boutique and Classic. This includes versions optimized for bass and acoustic guitar, as well as a flat version for plugging in items like keyboards. Each amp model and its variant has a set of speakers to choose from as well, from 1×12 to 4×12 with variations on those too — styles like Juicy, Boutique, Yamaha, British, California and American. Scrolling through them, it’s easy to come up with great sounding versions of real amps with no issues. The 3-band EQ gives plenty of response from each model and works in a practical sense like a traditional guitar amp normally would.
The effects knob has that usual “fan” diagram around it with a sweep from minimum to the maximum on chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo. The echo and reverb control works in a similar fashion, covering echo, and reverb styles of plate, hall, spring and room.
Now there is a companion app for this device, and it connects via Bluetooth, which we ran on an iPhone, an iPad, as well as a computer. Want to connect to a computer without using Bluetooth? Well, a USB connection on the back solves that! The app unlocks a TON more adjustable aspects of the unit — getting into the amp and cab variant selection as well as the parameters of the modulations, echoes, and reverbs. Additionally, a compressor and noise gate can be engaged here. It also offers up the ability to save five presets to the unit, as well as load up factory presets and user-created tones. Even better, the app looks and feels analog with simple knobs to adjust parameters easily, as you would on a pedal-like device.
Sound-wise, it delivers plenty of super-usable and practical tones. The models are very nuanced, and players looking for a particular version and variant of any amp/cab configuration should have no problem here. There’s a factory preset bank available; just name a player and style and it’s there, under a fairly easy to figure out name. Our fave tones were the super crystalline cleans, with enough chorus, delay and reverb to be lush but not squishy, and the Boutique crunch with a touch of reverb has that nuanced modern classic bite with top-end articulation. Gain tones past that stay true, and practical, not getting into overkill that makes a player turn up their nose, you want to turn up the Master!
So, could it go past being a desktop amp, and be a live amplifier? Yes, in smaller venues like a coffee shop or small restaurant where the music may be more background — there’s plenty of headroom to be had. Need to get above that? Run the output into a PA system, and it’s all there. Connect it to a Bluetooth footswitch and it’s just like having a multi effects system rig. It also interacts with pedals nicely, so pairing it with your existing pedalboard is no big deal, especially if you have some oddball pedal of the moment you can’t part with.
Overall, it’s a great little amp that delivers, and looks like a nice piece of decor, meaning your roommate/significant other won’t want to move it when company comes over. It’s a practical sounding amp that doesn’t take up a ton of room, and yet fills it up with great sound. What more could you want?
Great, practical guitar tones, app offers up super functionality